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Max Verstappen snaps back at Lewis Hamilton question as F1 title controversy festers

Ahead of the first race of the F1 2022 season, Verstappen was in a talkative, relaxed mood – until the nature of his dramatic Abi Dhabi victory was on the table

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Max Verstappen ‘recharged’ ahead of new F1 season

As you would expect from a reigning world champion, Max Verstappen was in a relatively talkative, relaxed mood ahead of the first race of the 2022 season.

Until the controversial manner of his triumph and the name of Lewis Hamilton were brought up, that is. Did the Dutchman think he had a point to prove after the way he was helped to the title by a hugely contentious decision from the race director?

“No,” he snapped. “I had the most wins, the most points, the most laps led. There are more races in a season than Abu Dhabi.” And did he think that Hamilton – in the wake of what many saw were over-zealous tactics from Verstappen – would come out in a more aggressive fashion this season?

“You’re asking the wrong person,” he shrugged. “I guess you should ask Lewis that.” Ahead of the qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the World Motor Sport Council of the FIA – Formula One’s governing body – will meet to discuss a report into last season and the controversial climax.

Unsurprisingly, Verstappen declared: “I don’t think we need to see the full report.” Verstappen is clearly keen to move on and is keen to prove he is – as his Red Bull team insist – the best driver on the grid.

He said: “The motivation is to keep winning. You want to be upfront. When you are a kid, you dream of being a Formula One driver and you dream of being world champion. I have achieved those things but I still want to win races. I grew up that complacency cannot happen.”

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